Note: This post was originally written on August 15, 2014
I continuously have no idea how our ancestors were able to deal with such racist/sexist brutality, murder of their own with no consequences and apathy from neighbors who wanted to act like nothing ever happened. Right now I want nothing more than to go about my life as usual. Forget about racist cops, symbolic Blacks and white folks who never - ever - have or want a clue. My time doing field work for the NAACP burned me out and I'm tired of feeling upset, angry...and tired...dealing with civil rights issues that never made the news...driving down dark back roads praying to get home ok. I would love to never revisit those tense days.
I'm so sick of Black and Brown people being treated like rag dolls that are toyed with when you want but ultimately devalued and thrown away (we do this to each other too, to much). And honestly, I'm jaded by "lack-avist" - you know, those who are so concerned and want to be activist but lack the real desire to take any action other than throwing on a t-shirt in a heartbeat (well now it's selfies in the t-shirt). But alas, complacency and ignoring pain can never be an option. So as I figure out my own actions regarding justice for Mike Brown and how I can work on behalf of the Black community as a whole, I do have a few suggestions I'd like get off my chest...
1. Take time to be angry and grieve for Mike Brown, others lost and pray for their families.
2. If you have friends or family in St. Louis, reach out to make sure they're ok - you don't have to be in the city to lend support.
3. Think really hard about what it means for pictures of people with their hands up, holding skittles and iced tea, wearing a hoodie - whatever "the" pose is - to go viral. In a real way, how does that make you feel? Do those pictures motivate you? What do they accomplish? And after YOU took one of those pictures, what did you do next?
4. If you want to do something in reaction to Ferguson, determine how many hours a week you have to dedicate to this cause and for how many weeks - honestly. Do you only have an hour to give for the next 10 months? Can you spend 2 hours a day for 2 years? Be specific then write your commitment down where you can see it everyday. This is important because one day attention will leave this issue and folks will inevitably be on to the next but you need to stay focused because this is important to you right?
5. Next, research actions that people/organizations are taking and contact them to ask how you can help. Perhaps there's a law office that is handling pro bono police brutality cases and they need help conducting research. There may be a local NAACP chapter near you that is working to introduce "Trayvon's Law" legislation on the state level (google this - I actually think it's a great piece of model legislation that needs our support to get introduced and passed on the local, state and national level - more on this later). Once you find someone that needs help, tell them your hours of commitment and get going!
6. Lastly, we've all been blessed by God with unique talents and gifts that are to be used for good works. What are yours and how can they be utilized to address this issue? Are you great at math? Some small organization surely could use your help with budgeting for their next rally. Hair stylist? Provide regular updates on volunteer opportunities, events and community meetings to your customers. Socialite? Host an event at a lounge and bring in a speaker who can educate your friends about police brutality, racial profiling, etc.
There is so much support people can give to an issue that is discounted because it's not "flashy" or can be conveyed easily on social media. 10 posts and pictures can't beat 1 hour of time you spend organizing a strategy session with your friends on what you can do together. 100 posts this month can't beat 1 blog post a week for the next two years to give info on the issue (you could do both though). Think outside your box and don't wait for direction from someone else. There's only one messiah and He ain't come back yet.
Finally, just remember that everyone can do something if they chose to...so let's all choose to do something today because we really have no choice not to...
WHO IS STEFANIE?
I am an inspirationeur!
I am passionate about empowering people to understand how their unique skills, talents and interests can change the world for the better while leading to personal happiness in the process. Through my work as a cutting-edge business woman, founder of a leadership development organization and spirited public speaker, I believe in #DoingItBIG and accomplishing results. #LiveCandid